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  • Writer's pictureMiguel Fernández

Bidet & Civilization

(About Bidet, or “introduction to the study of the bidet”)

The civil engineering course had a course called “Building Hygiene” also known as Building Installations (BI) or something like that. It is that subject that deals with water pipes, sewage, rainwater drainage, gas, in a building. Many will say: what a tasteless subject!

However, if we take into account that we spend a good part of our lives in the bathroom (and in the kitchen), we will see that this is a very important subject. Reading a book sitting on the throne of an apartment, with your mouth wide open, full of teeth, waiting for death to arrive (Raul Seixas), is much more complex and profound than reading the same book or magazine on the couch in the living room.

If we also consider that some periods spent on or under the “building installations” are of the utmost importance, either because of the urgency, or the relief, or the philosophical efforts (reviewer, it’s really philosophical, please) to which we are led in certain moments of physiological impasse , is not a despicable or bland or odorless matter, let's agree.

And the unspeakable moments of teenagers locked in bathrooms? Theirs, don't come to me with prejudices. How many magazines handled? How many Playboys, how many Ele&Ela, how many Carlos Zéfiro?

Returning to BI classes, it was the year 1969 in the engineering course at UFRJ, on Ilha do Fundão, the professor was engineer Nestor de Oliveira. For him, the world was divided into three groups: Europe, the USA and “the others”. And how did he characterize the groups? By the existence or not of the bathroom accessory, made of porcelain, called “bidet”.

According to his peculiar point of view, the USA was a country “without bidet” (French pronunciation), fated to go from barbarism to decadence without going through civilization, which was demonstrated by the non-adherence to the European custom of using the bidet. After 50 years, I realize the exceptional acuity that Nestor had in observing this pearl of anthropology. And it's not just me who remembers, my colleague José Soares de Matos Fº (Zé of Jippe) also remembers. And the two films made around the year 2000, by Denys Arcand (“Barbara Invasions” and “The Fall of the Empire”), corroborate Nestor's perspicacity, his premonition.

Effectively, the reasons why “bidet” is not used in the US are irrelevant, but they led to American regulations excluding “bidet” from the territory that goes from Mexico to Canada, including Alaska and Hawaii: a very remote theoretical possibility of “bidet” crossed” with the drinking water network, I believe this has never been demonstrated in practice, especially in bidets with a shower head (vertical upward jet. Only when and if used for immersion, in the old-fashioned way, such as a gourd, could there be a backflow into the water pipe drinkable. In practice, pure paranoia.

It also seems that it was around this time (1970s) that uncomfortable “hygienic showers” ​​began to appear as palliatives. In fact, I argue for selling a rough thing for a fine thing and getting rid of bidets by lowering construction costs. I want to see someone manage to operate a shower well (at the end of a hose holding it with one hand, inside the toilet! Where do you enter it? Confusing operation to say the least). Nothing against showers, which are excellent for helping to clean the toilet when the porcelain is left with traces of the most oily feces. There is also a “traquitana”, they say, of Japanese patent, adaptable to conventional toilets, which is a folding gambiarra, with a shower in the middle. Also noteworthy is a metal toilet that looks like a sink nozzle (lavatory) present in many hotels around the world that want to please Greeks and Trojans, a true “Frankstein” bidet intended to serve as a gourd and to wash underpants, socks and panties of travelers (other more phallic uses must be unfeasible due to the reduced length of the mouthpiece). They are better than nothing, but they do not replace the true bidets in their fullness, being mere baits, as we will see later.

Pardon the prudish people, but I can't resist digressing on the subject: how to classify people, groups, according to whether or not the bidet is used, how to do it, how to feel it, in short, a treatise of the type " to bidet or not to bidet”. For this, we are going to give a scientific character and systematize our studies and observations, so that we can be called a “respected scientist” by the mainstream press.

Etymology and environmental impact: Preliminarily, colleague and friend Chemical Engineer J.E.W.A.Cavalcanti, with post-post on the subject, informs that the word comes from archaic French, having to do with the position of riding to “trot”. Since his last name suggests riding, we won't argue that point. The information is accepted as reliable. Cavalcanti also informs that he researched and did some math, concluding that more water is spent to make toilet paper than for a standard conventional use of water to clean the ass in a bidet (estimated at 50 liters at a time) and that, additionally , given the savings in toilet paper that bidets can provide, if the US adopted the use of bidets, 15 million trees could be saved annually (attention reader, annually has nothing to do with anus although the subject borders). Imagine what Europe will do or say when it learns of this Amazon devastated by “years-and-years” for not using the bidet. It can generate a serious conflict. Look at the shit!

That said, the issue can be organized into two large groups: regarding the POSITION of use and the PURPOSE of use. 01_ Regarding the POSITION of use: we noticed throughout the studies and research to prepare this document that, basically, there are four “positions”: 01.01 The person faces the wall and the operating valves (faucets) 01.02 The person stands with their back to the wall and the valves (faucets)

01.03 The person stands, one leg on each side of the bidet, with an adequate and calibrated jet of water to reach the person interested in the washing or massage. We don't know if psychology has sorted it out yet, but it's intriguing. As it seems to involve a certain amount of exhibitionism, it is not known whether it is also used alone, although mirrors are sufficient for narcissus. It is possible that, knowing this, conservatives will want to classify the feat as a deviation of character and the position will be prohibited by law.

01.04 The fourth position is, shall we say, involuntary, but highly effective: the person arrives excited, angry at the world and, before sitting down or taking a stand, opens one of the water taps suddenly, without realizing that the middle valve, which it diverts the water, it is open for the shower and, surprise!, it takes a strong jet in the face. If the jet is cold water, the person calms down instantly. We believe that comes from the idiomatic expression "stay cold". A friend of ours witnessed such an event and found that, with an audience, it has great humorous appeal (especially with an ex-partner, according to him). We ask other researchers / observers to tell us the result with hot or warm water. Note that when using the bidet, the person has the option of: A_ wear “rolled up” clothes, that is, just pull down your pants, panties, underpants or B_ undress from the waist down, taking off your shoes or not, or else C_ undress completely.

The use of pants restricts the possible alternatives as it seems impractical to combine “position 1” with alternative A, for example. Each one must assess their acrobatic possibilities, the place they are (clean floor?), the time available, etc.

02_ Regarding the PURPOSE of use (for what purpose): we can list three: CLEANING, THERAPEUTIC and SENSORY. 02.01_ For the CLEANING purpose, there are four sub-goals:

02.01.01_ Washing the forehead, up to the perineum, in the bidet, seems to be a feminine action par excellence. Indeed, during our entire period of research (more than 60 years) we never heard that any male being used the bidet to wash his “bilau. In the early days, when “bidets” were invented, it was an almost exclusively female accessory, with the primary objective of washing the vagina (one of the most stuck-up ones) and the pussy of the rest. Women use it after urinating and for other reasons, such as rinsing "the parakeet" after the occurrence of acquired or produced glandular fluids or both. And they do it with great efficiency and effectiveness. Perhaps this is where another idiomatic expression comes from: “lavou-tá-nova”. But it seems that, nowadays, it has taken on a connotation more linked to jealousy and sex, which is a great injustice to men. After all, a woman has never been heard to say about the male organ “wash-it-new” and accept it, as men accept it. In all these operations, the water must be lukewarm. Corroborating the female origin of use, we recorded what we observed in some places in Europe with collective bathrooms (changing rooms, accommodation, etc): there were only bidets in the female ones.

02.01.02_ Latrine: friends told us that it is common to urinate in the bidet and, in the same operation, the area is already washed. But, discarding this unfair competition between the bidet and the latrine, the bidet was certainly created to wash the “pussy”. The record is left for the sake of systematization

02.01.03_ Washing the ass (butt, anus, actually the ass) in the bidet is a sanitary obligation, regardless of gender. Think about it, the person has just done the “number 2” (silly euphemism for poop, which is very fashionable and which we record here) and, as is common to happen, there is some residue around the “fiofó”. Or it farted and released a little bit that stayed there. Are you going to leave it for your underwear or panties? Are you going to pass paper and spread this remnant by greasing your buttocks? It's not going to work! A filth! There is only one civilized and hygienic way to solve it: washing. Either get in the shower or use the bidet. So the bidet, technically, must be “next to” the toilet, the “latrine”. This operation is certainly the easiest (moving from the toilet to the bidet on the side). Engineer Fernando Albuquerque, a dear friend and also a researcher on the subject (PhD degree from the IME), told me that in the buildings “Joquei Club” (in the center), and “Pimentel Duarte, later CAEMI” on Praia de Botafogo, on the street Marquês de Olinda, both in Rio de Janeiro, both influenced by the famous businessman Antunes (CAEMI) who appointed the renowned architect Hue, the men's bathrooms also have a bidet, which demonstrates that Antunes and Hue were clean people, they knew things and preceded us in this matter.

02.01.04_ The fourth and last option of the “Cleaning” classification is the “footwash”. In our research, we learned that the bidet can be used as a footbath. What will lead an individual not to take a shower and need or want to wash only their feet? Is the neglect of certain peoples for bathing true? Will it save water?

02.02_ For THERAPEUTIC purpose

02.02.01_ Hemorrhoids and similars: it seems that since the invention of the bidet, this has also served, using warm water, to alleviate the suffering of those who have them. To do this, primitive bidets were enough, without water jets, functioning as gourds (with and without pharmaceutical, chemical or herbal additives): the person fills the bidet almost to the brim and, when sitting down, they touch their anus to the hot water, feeling relieved.

02.02.02_ Rashes and similars: it is irresistible to remember that in the Pantanal region there is a tasty fish called Pacú, advertised on the menus of restaurants in Mato Grosso as “Hipoglós dish” (roasted pacú). Witnesses heard by our specialists (engº Alan), told that, preceded by a bath in the bidet, in a gourd or in a shower, properly hot, the famous Hipoglós ointment has a better effect. Here is the record and the recommendation for anyone who overdoes it with pepper and / or scratching, rubbing or introducing.

02.02.03_ Less surprising than washing your feet in the bidet is immersing your feet in water with chemical or herbal additives to combat chilblains, athlete's foot, fungus, foot odor, etc. The bidet being next to the toilet, the user sits on the toilet and does it all in comfort. Anyone can do this, even if they don't use the bidet for the purposes it was designed for. We include foot support activities in this classification, such as cutting nails, painting nails, etc.

02.03_ For the SENSORY purpose: the classification requires Cartesian attention and creativity from the researchers, some independent of gender, others more here and others more there. In principle, we found two large sub-groups (with variants): COMFORT and PLEASURE:

02.03.01_ COMFORT: the feeling of comfort from a jet of water on the perineum region is undeniable, whether in the holes or in the section between them. Especially if it's warm on a cold day or cool on a hot day. Comfort and “relax”. A whirlpool. Haven't tried it? You don't know anything!

02.03.02_ PLEASURE

02.02.02.a_ Masochism: We had access to reports that a jet of strong water on the fiofó, depending on the degree of masochism and erogenous relevance of the region (each one is each one!) can easily go from curiosity to addiction. Pasteurization and all, going from cold to hot and back... People are very creative. We leave this field of investigation open to other researchers. We add here the collaboration of an architect friend of this chronicler (alô Adir): “the anus is an orifice that goes far beyond its physiological functions; it is an area of ​​the body full of (un)confessable desires, depending on the case, as old Freud said”.

02.02.02.b_ Complementations. They say that “eating and scratching is just the beginning” (and there are three meanings...). Then, in the post-coital period, when the person involved (and interested) squats on the bidet to wash the territory of the dispute without having finished (won) the game and, in that tepid jet (lukewarm is for other purposes), begins to strum or type the region, completing there the apocalyptic sensations to which it is entitled. Or else, having hurt the territory in more savage disputes, it needs to sanitize and warm up there.

02.02.02.c_ Pure masturbation: Although it seems that there are better places to perform the ritual, whatever it may be, a friend of ours told us that, on one occasion, still single, he was called by the neighbor to help his granddaughter (also single) that he had fainted in the bathroom and that, when he went to the scene of the crime, he found that it was perfectly compatible with the use of a bidet to reach orgasm with the help of tepid water. In certain people, circumstances and intensity, it leads to loss of senses.... They even say it has a name in medicine. On the grandmother's side, doubt remained forever about the real purposes of asking the neighbor to help and her innocence. Or wisdom. The two began to have a strong relationship (as the grandmother of the composer Erasmo Carlos used to say: “better poorly-accompanied-than-alone, even if it’s me, me, me...”, listen to the lyrics, it’s worth it). pity).

We close this master's-dissertation chronicle hoping to have recorded a technical-cultural theme of our time, little addressed. And other curious people and researchers are encouraged to join us in researching and disseminating important themes that are neglected by sentimentality. The initial reason for the chronicle was to write about an engineering professor to form a book on the subject. We decided to talk about some of the non-stars, non-exhibitionist teachers who, not teaching the subjects considered to be the most important or terrifying, impress their students on their general knowledge, logical reasoning, intelligence, subtlety, honesty and love for what they do.

And we started to deserve an academic title, at least MSc, for the originality and relevance of the theme and for the effort. Many “masters” and “doctors” achieved these titles for much less: through confraternities, due to salary bureaucracy needs or, most frequently: lack of options.

Miguel Fernández y Fernández, consulting engineer and columnist ,2020set-dez31,Rh2021jun22

Link to writing on the Facebook page "Brasil Engenharia":

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